Dana White apologizes for overstepping bounds in ref removal

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Officiating is one of the most contentious issues in mixed martial arts. Every fan wishes he or she could fire incompetent judges and refs. UFC president Dana White, a huge fan of the sport, did just that on Saturday night in Macau, removing judge Howard Hughes after two questionable decisions.

Under ordinary circumstances, a UFC event is entirely regulated by a State, provincial, or tribal regulating body. In Macau however, there is no government body regulating MMA, so the UFC self regulates, bringing in independent officials under the direction of former Executive Director of the Nevada Athletic Commission and current UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner. Unfortunately, the UFC ran two shows on Saturday, and Ratner was in Oklahoma not China. In the absence of Ratner coordinating regulation, White overstepped, and has apologized.

After an internal review, the UFC organization announced today that a breach of its independent regulatory protocol occurred on Saturday night during UFC FIGHT NIGHT MACAO.

After the second fight of the night, UFC President Dana White requested that Howard Hughes, one of the event's five assigned judges, be removed from working any further bouts. Pursuant to UFC's protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night.

The UFC organization has always been in support of government regulation and oversight. Additionally, the UFC has established a protocol when required to self-regulate events due to the lack of an official athletic commission, federation or other regulatory body.  In those instances where UFC holds events in locations without a regulatory body, the UFC's protocol dictates that the organization's internal regulators will handle all commission functions independently and without interference by company executives or employees.

The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again.

Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future.

Read entire statement…